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On this dual use track you can walk or cycle to the Franz Josef Glacier carpark from Franz Josef township.

Track overview

8.7 km return via same track

Walking and tramping

2 hr Easy: Walking track

Mountain biking

1 hr Easy: Grade 2

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Pick up the track on the right hand side of the road outside the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE, before crossing and then going under the Waiho River bridge. The track then runs along the left hand edge of the Glacier Access Road for approximately 1.7 km on a sealed lane marked for walkers and cyclists. Please keep off the road lanes. 

Approaching the Rata Grove, a gravel track heads into the forest on the left hand side of the road for a short time, before re-emerging from the forest and crossing the Glacier Valley Access Road. Take care to give way to all traffic and cross carefully! 

Te Ara a Waiau walkway and cycleway.  Photo: K Henderson.
Te Ara a Waiau

Once across the road the track winds its way easily up the valley through lush rainforest with abundant birdlife. The track crosses the Lake Wombat Walk just minutes from the road crossing – take care at this intersection also, cyclists please watch for walkers crossing! Views of the mountains and upper valley are possible at times as you head up the valley.

Those on bikes must leave their bikes at the bike rack at the end of Te Ara a Waiau – there is no bike access on any other tracks in the area. Please obey the bike code of conduct and respect others – stay in control, give way to walkers, signal your approach and pass with care, and ride shared-use tracks in small groups.

Getting there

Te Ara a Waiau starts from State Highway 6 just outside the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE.

Mountain biking

This is a shared-use track. Follow the mountain bikers code: respect others, respect the rules, respect the track.

Know before you go

  • Check the current track conditions and weather forecasts at the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and i-SITE before starting your trip. 
  • Always take warm and waterproof clothing as the weather can change rapidly. 
  • Carry drinking water, insect repellent and sun protection at all times.


Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 752 0796
Address:   13 State Highway 6
Franz Josef Glacier 7856
Full office details
Hokitika Office
Phone:      +64 3 756 9100
Full office details
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